Exploiting Your Charity

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1 Response

  1. PrometheeFeu says:

    I do not believe that it makes sense to have tougher convictions on people who commit fraud by pretending to help others rather than pretending to help yourself. In my opinion, the point of the law is to within the limits of proportional punishment encourage “proper” behavior and discourage “inappropriate” behavior. (Where proper behavior is behavior that respects other people’s rights and inappropriate behavior is behavior that violates other people’s rights) Within that framework, I ask 2 questions:
    1) Is the scam charity more reprehensible than the scam investment therefore allowing a proportional punishment to be stronger for one than the other?
    2) Can we create a more effective deterrent by raising penalties on scam charities compared to scam investments?
    If we can answer yes to both questions, then a higher punishment makes sense.

    I would argue that the answer to the first question is yes. By creating such a scam, the perpetrators are not only depriving the donor of their property by voiding their consent to the donation, they are also depriving the actual intended beneficiary of the donation from that donation. Furthermore, they are discouraging the donation to charitable causes as people become more suspicious that actual charitable organisations might actually be scams. This is causing harm to those who would otherwise benefit from donations. Since those people tend to be in situations of grievous need, that harm is significant. So it would be proportional to raise the associated penalty.

    However, I am unconvinced that such higher punishment would actually act as a greater deterrent. Those who perpetrate such scams have a high expectation of impunity. That is why they continue. Given that those scams do often go unpunished, that perception of impunity is likely to continue. Therefore I would presume that raising the penalty would be unlikely to change the behavior of many if any would-be charity scammers.

    You could raise penalties so they remain proportional to the crime, but you could not raise them so they remain proportional to the goal that is accomplished.